Angele Dubeau's new CD "Noel" with her longtime ensemble La Pieta is one of the most beautiful and calming Christmas recordings I
have heard in a long time. Does this mean it is boring? Not by a longshot. There is plenty of new and unfamiliar music here to sus-
tain interest throghout the entire program, which features an imaginative mixture of selections, from traditional to contemporary
to Italian concertos and French-Canadian and so forth, all done with La Pieta's typical precision and panache. At first glance, I thought I would not enjoy the program as much as I did but indeed the precision and atmospheric, expressive playing of La Pieta united with the program to provide one of the most unique listening experiences I have come across.
Listen, for example to the arrangement of Silent Night with its otherworldy harmonies and lovely muted string playing. Or the
uplifting and upbeat performances of the concertos. My other favorites on the disc are of John Ireland's The Holy Boy and the
Huron Carol Interlude. That said, every track will offer constant and repeated listening pleasure.
To sum up, this release is not the typical roof raising blockbuster spectacular.While these certainly have thier place,we also need recordings such as the present issue. Do not pass up "Noel". This is a recording that will fill you with quiet and much
needed peace, joy and wonder for Christmas and beyond.